NEWMARKET – April is Cancer Awareness Month, and what better time to talk to your health care professional about your participation in screening programs for breast and cervical cancer. Early detection of cancer as a result of participating in screening programs does save lives.
Breast cancer is the most common form of cancer and the leading cause of cancer deaths for women living in York Region. One in nine women is expected to develop breast cancer in her lifetime.
Breast screening may include a physical exam of the breasts and/or a breast x-ray (mammogram). Mammograms detect breast cancer in early stages, when treatment is most effective and cure is highly possible. If you are aged 40 to 49 or over age 74, discuss your need to have a mammogram with your health care provider. It is recommended by the Canadian Cancer Society that all women have a physical breast exam by a trained health care provider annually.
Since 1990, the Ontario Breast Screening Program (OBSP) has provided mammograms and physical breast exams for women over the age of 50 who are at increased risk of developing breast cancer. To ensure the highest quality of screening test necessary for early detection of breast cancer, OBSP sites are accredited by the Canadian Association of Radiologists – Mammography Accreditation Program.
Between 1989 and 2002 the rate of breast cancer deaths has declined by 29% due to screening and improved treatments. OBSP provides support by sending out results of your tests and a reminder letter when it is time for your next screening mammogram to both you and your family doctor and by organizing any needed follow-up tests. If you are a woman over 50 years of age, you may make an appointment yourself at any OBSP site or you may ask your health care professional to make one for you.
York Region has four Ontario Breast Screening Program sites:
- Mammography at CML Health Care – provides services in English and Chinese
10 Unionville Gate, St. 204 Unionville (905) 479-3945
- Mammography at Markham Mammography Clinic – provides services in English and Chinese 262 Main St. Markham (905) 472-2713
- Mammography at Ontario Medical Imaging, Chalmers Gate X-Ray and Ultrasound – provides services in English and Chinese located 328 Hwy #7 East, Ste. 309 Richmond Hill (905)731-4001
- Mammography and clinical breast exam at Southlake Regional Health Centre, Department of Diagnostic Imaging – 596 Davis Dr. Newmarket (905) 895-4521 ext. 2665
Every week, approximately 11 women will get cancer of the cervix and 3 women will die from it. If you have ever been sexually active, smoked, or been exposed to second hand smoke you are at increased risk for developing cervical cancer and need a Pap test. Talk to your health care provider about participating in cervical cancer screening.
Because more women are being screened through regular Pap tests, fewer York Region women are being diagnosed with cancer of the cervix compared to the rest of Ontario. In fact, 78% of York Region women aged 18 to 69 years reported having had a Pap test in the last three years, compared to the Ontario average of 73%. However, we need 100% of women to talk to their health care professional about their need for a Pap test for early detection and prevention of cervical cancer.
Don’t procrastinate. Make that appointment. Participate in breast and cervical cancer screening programs… Early detection does save lives!
For information on this or other health related questions, contact York Region Health Services Health Connection at 1-800-361-5653 or visit www.york.ca